What grows well under those pesky Casuarinas or Australian Pines? (Latin names: Casuarina equisetifolia and Casuarina glauca).
My neighbor plans to remove the Australian Pines in front of his house and asked how to prevent erosion. He wants to try the method that Martin suggested in his blog, of cutting them down slowly, allowing undergrowth to get started. And he wanted to know, what grows under Casuarinas?
I got out my camera and decided to photograph some of the plants growing around the stump of a giant Casuarina in an area that we had cleared of Australian Pines.
The first year, we started to remove the Australian Pines by removing many small, baby trees. At first, we used a machete and just cut down the 7 to 10 footers. Then I spent a number of days pulling out smaller ones by hand, roots and all. Most of the ones that I pulled out were three feet high or shorter. I counted that I removed over 700 small baby Casuarina plants, by hand while using a pickaxe to pull the root out. It was a tiring job, but the view of the beach and the ocean was beautiful making it a pleasant work site, especially in the cool of the early morning.
|Stage Two, opening up to undergrowth|
|Stage Three, New Growth|
|Bay Cedar (Suriana maritima)|
It is so wonderful to have all this diversity of plant life. The birds and butterflies like it too. They flutter from plant to plant, eating seeds and lighting on them, probably enjoying the ocean view, as do we.
You can see that I have yet to learn the name of all the plants in my front yard. This is because I did not purchase them at any nursery. They emerged naturally, once the invasive plant was fully removed. In other words, they did not arrive in containers with plastic labels showing their names. But my neighbors are teaching me the names of these native plants. As I learn their names, I will add them to the photos.
We recently bought two additional plants that we will be putting into the ground around our house. They are highly recommended and are great native replacements for the Australian Pine. They are Lignum Vitae (Gualacum sanactum) and Red Cedar (Juniperus bermudiana). We just bought one of each from our local nursery called Wonderland Gardens in Marsh Harbour. Here is what they looked like when we bought them.
|Baby Lignum Vitae|